How to handle Cutoffs

Cutoffs – Single to Left Field – No Runners on Base

On a single to left field the shortstop will be the cutoff to second base. The second baseman will cover the bag. The first baseman should primarily back up the throw from left and then move towards first. This will put him/her into position to receive a throw at first base in case the runner takes too large of a turn.

Cutoffs – Single to Center Field – No Runners on Base

On a single to center field the second baseman will be the cutoff to second base. The shortstop will cover the bag. The pitcher must position his/her self to back up second base.

Cutoffs – Single to Right Field – No Runners on Base

On a single to right field the second baseman will be the cutoff to second base. The shortstop will cover the bag. The left fielder and third baseman must back up second. The first baseman must get close to first base and be ready for a throw behind the runner.

Cutoffs – Single to Left Field – Runner on First Base

On a single to left field the shortstop will be the cutoff to third base. The second baseman will cover second base. The pitcher must hustle to get in position to back up third base. The catcher should also be in a position to back up the throw.

Cutoffs – Single to Center Field – Runner on First Base

On a single to center field the shortstop will be the cutoff to third base. The second baseman will cover second base. The pitcher must hustle to get in position to back up third base. Unless the ball is hit to left center, the left fielder should move in to help back up third base.

Cutoffs – Single to Right Field – Runner on First Base

On a single to right field the shortstop will be the cutoff to third base. The second baseman will cover second base. The pitcher must hustle to get in position to back up third base. The left fielder should move in to help back up third base.

Cutoffs – Single to Left Field – Runner on Second Base

On a single to left field the third baseman will be the cutoff to home. The shortstop will cover third base. The pitcher will backup home. The catcher will make the call if a cut is needed and to what base. The center fielder should start toward left and once the ball has been fielded cleanly, he/she should go to back up second in case a throw is made there either from the cutoff or the catcher.

Cutoffs – Single to Center or Right Field – Runner on Second Base

On a single to center or right field the first baseman will be the cutoff to home. The shortstop will cover second base. The second baseman will cover first base. The pitcher will backup home. The catcher will make the call if a cut is needed and to what base. The diagram below shows both options, with the only difference being the position of the first baseman as the cutoff.

Cutoffs – Fly Ball to the Outfield – Runner on Third Base

On a fly ball hit to the outfield with a runner on third base the cutoff is set up in the same manner as it would on a single to the outfield with a runner on second base. On a fly ball hit to left field the third baseman will be the cutoff. On a fly ball to center or right field the first baseman will be the cutoff.

Double Cutoff – No Runners on Base

On any hit into the gaps or down the lines with no runners on base and the outfielders are unable to cut it off, your middle infield should automatically move into double cutoff position for a throw to third base.

Have the infielder closest to the ball move out and be the first person in line for the throw. The other middle infielder should line up about 10 yards behind the first infielder. I’ve seen many double cuts where the infielders are standing about 5 feet away from each other. That doesn’t do much of anything. The infielders need to be spaced so together they can cover the most space on the throw coming in.

The first baseman has the important role of trailing the hitter to second base. If the runner stops between second and third the first baseman has to be in position to get a throw at second base either from the cutoff or in a rundown situation.

Double Cutoff – Runner on First Base

On any hit into the gaps or down the lines with a runner at first and the outfielders are unable to cut it off, your first thought is to try and stop the runner from first from scoring. If the runner has average or better speed, this can be difficult to do. As you work on this play during practice make sure you use a runner at home and first and give the defense opportunities to make plays on both runners. Many times your team will have a better opportunity of throwing out the trailing runner at third than getting the lead runner at home.

I have the shortstop or second baseman as the fielder going out and becoming the first person in the relay. The other infielder should line up about 10 yards behind the first infielder. I’ve seen many double cuts where the infielders are standing about 5 feet away from each other. That doesn’t do much of anything. The infielders need to be spaced so together they can cover the most space on the throw coming in.

See the next page for diagrams…

The diagrams below show how I position the defense for this play.

On any hit to left of left center, the first baseman has the important role of trailing the hitter to second base. If the runner stops between second and third the first baseman has to be in position to get a throw at second base either from the cutoff or in a rundown situation.